I once worked in a place where you could bring your dog to work. The story goes that the original owner of the company used to cycle to work every day and his fine mutt used to run behind the bike. Through the streets of London, I might add, so I’m sure it was a fine sight. Our credit controller had a German Shepherd – looked a bit fierce but was a gentle old thing. Bit like the credit controller really, they do say that dogs resemble their owners but that’s another day’s blog!
So back to the babies at work question. I don’t have a dog but I do have 2 little ones and I have to say, I can’t think of anything worse than bringing them to work. Not everyone thinks like me though. UK Car company Addison Lee, think it’s a great idea and have introduced the first UK scheme that allows their employees to bring their babies to work with them. The ‘Babies in the Office’ program sees new mothers and fathers look after their babies at their desks, rather than putting them in an on-site crèche or nursery.
Addison Lee which is Europe’s largest minicab and chauffeur business originally trialled the experiment for a BBC documentary, but have now formally implemented the scheme at its London office, where 900 workers are based. They have already welcomed eight babies onto its Euston site as part of the scheme, which is designed to encourage staff to return to work after maternity leave.
Liam Griffin, managing director of Addison Lee had this to say: “As a family-owned business we were excited at the chance to participate in this project to create a better work-life balance for our employees.”
A first for the UK but this idea has already been successfully adopted by 170 firms in the US, and has seen more than 2,000 babies brought into the workplace there. Griffin added that he hoped the US scheme would be implemented on a wider basis in the UK, as it offered advantages to both employers and employees. “The scheme has a number of significant benefits for both our staff and the business, from increased staff loyalty and retention through to elevated morale resulting in improved productivity,” he continued.
“Women realised it would give them the possibility of saving on childcare while bonding with their babies for longer and continuing to breastfeed.”
Watch this space, despite my personal reservations perhaps this will be the norm in years to come…